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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Who will be called next time there's an NFL head-coaching job open?



By ESPN Insiders

July 12, 2017

Coaching turnover is a constant reality in the NFL. We asked some of our NFL Insiders which folks will be getting calls the next time a head coach gets fired.

Here are two lists, one with the guys who would be new to the position and one with the guys who would be getting their second, third or more opportunity to lead an NFL team. In no particular order ...

Mike Vrabel | Houston Texans

Mike Vrabel has coached in Houston since 2014. He takes over as defensive coordinator this year.

Current position: Defensive coordinator

Age: 41

A one-time All-American at Ohio State, Vrabel played 14 NFL seasons and transitioned immediately to coaching, first at Ohio State and since 2014 in Houston, where he has helped oversee some dominant defenses. He takes over as defensive coordinator this year.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Beyond The U: Ken Dorsey




Quarterback U’s Greatest QB: KD droppin’ bombs on the Vols Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

By Michael Burns

July 4, 2017

Legend of The U

Ken Dorsey is the Greatest Quarterback in the history of Quarterback U.

There’s really no argument,
but here’s the case for it anyway.

When you think of the greatest quarterbacks in University of Miami history, the big names often spring first to mind - Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Heisman Trophy Winners Vinny Testaverde and Gino Torretta, maybe even George Mira Sr. if you’re old enough to remember him. None of them had a career at The U like Ken Dorsey.

Dorsey was the ultimate winner as the team's starting quarterback, with an unbelievable record of 38 wins and only 2 losses. Hed led the team to the 2001 National Championship over Nebraska. He should have gotten a shot at two more. The Canes (and Dorsey) were robbed by the refs in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl, and by the NCAA in 2000 when they selected FSU over the Canes, even though their records were the same and the Canes had beaten FSU.

Potentially, he would have been a three-time champion. No other Canes QB can claim that.


Legend. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Dorsey also rewrote the school record book. When he graduated, he was the career record holder for:

• Total Offense - 9,486 yards
• Passing Yards - 9,565
• Passing touchdowns - 86
• Pass Completions - 668
• Pass Attempts - 1,153
• Victories as a Starting Quarterback - 38
• Winning Percentage by a Starting Quarterback - .974
• 200-yard passing performances - 31
• Consecutive Passes without an Interception - 193
• Consecutive Games with a Touchdown Pass - 31
• Touchdown Passes in a Game - 5


Dorsey was named the co-MVP of the 2002 Rose Bowl, Offensive Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002, and First-Team All-Big East three times (2000, 2001, 2002). Dorsey was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in both 2001 and 2002; and the winner of the 2001 Maxwell Award for the national collegiate player of the year.

QB U’s G.O.A.T.(Greatest of All Time)? No doubt.
But what happened after this historically successful career at Miami? As you might guess, the NFL came calling for Ken Dorsey.


Not quite Montana or Young, but not bad. Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary

Pro Baller

Ken Dorsey was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 7th round of the 2003 NFL draft. While teams did not question his leadership or football IQ, they did question his arm strength, which resulted in his low draft position..

The Niners were coached by former Canes HC Dennis Erickson. Their starting QB was Jeff Garcia, age 33, and Dorsey and 2nd year man Tim Rattay from Louisiana Tech were looked as potential replacements down the line. None of that ended up working out as planned.

Dorsey rode the pine in 2003, but in 2004 he ended up starting seven games when Garcia and Rattay went down with injuries. He put up 1231 passing yards, along with 6 TD’s and 9 interceptions. Unfortunately, this was not a good Niners team, and his record as a starter was 1-6. Dorsey played one more season as a backup in San Francisco, but was buried on the depth chart behind number one overall draft pick Alex Smith.

He was traded to the Cleveland Browns before the 2006 season, along with a 3rd round draft pick, for QB Trent Dilfer. Dorsey played 3 seasons in the Factory of Sadness, collecting a large amount of bench splinters in his football pants. The Browns, to no one’s surprise, continued to be terrible during his time there. In Dorsey’s last season in Cleveland, he managed to start three games, but only threw for 371 yards with 0 TD’s and 7 picks. He was released after the 2008 season - and just like that, his NFL playing career was over.

If anything, Ken Dorsey’s NFL playing career was the opposite of his college experience. While his arm strength limitations did inhibit his ability to succeed at the NFL level, the fact was that his last three teams at The U had much more high level pro talent than either the 49ers or Browns teams he played on. Surrounded with better talent, Dorsey might well have played a few more years in the NFL as a backup.

Back To High School

Dorsey and his family moved to Lakewood Ranch, Florida, about 50 miles south of Tampa. There he sat waiting for the phone to ring throughout the 2009 NFL season. When an opportunity arose in 2010 to become the QB Coach at Lakewood Ranch High School, Dorsey took it. He helped guide the Mustangs to a 6-5 record and a playoff berth. This became a turning point in Dorsey's life. Coaching (at Lakewood) I realized that my accomplishments gave me a unique platform, said Dorsey. If I wanted to help a quarterback on his accuracy, show a wide receiver tips on running a route, or just show that you can’t blow off education, the kids listened to me. On April 26, 2011, he was named offensive coordinator at nearby Riverview High School in nearby Sarasota, Florida.

Oh, Canada

In between high school football seasons, Dorsey got back into the pros - but this time in the CFL. Dorsey signed with the Toronto Argonauts on May 26, 2010. Once again, he found himself the backup QB, this time to former Miami Dolphins QB Cleo Lemon. His only action came in the club’s first pre-season contest when he completed 8 of 17 passes for 96 yards in a win over the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Dorsey lasted just one season in the Great White North, and on May 3, 2011, he announced his retirement from playing professional football.


Coach laying it out for Cam. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Ken

Later in 2011, Dorsey took a job with the IMG Madden Football Academy developing prospect quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. The job offer came from old FSU rival QB Chris Weinke. Among Dorsey’s students were future NFL players Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Randall Cobb, and Joe Webb.

Then the NFL called again. The Carolina Panthers offered Dorsey a pro scout position. He scouted the Panthers upcoming opponents each week; and evaluated free agents and prospects on other NFL rosters.

In 2013, Ken Dorsey was named the Carolina Panthers Quarterbacks Coach under offensive coordinator Mike Shula. Dorsey has been working closely with Panthers QB and former IMG pupil Cam Newton since then, helping Newton to the 2015 NFL MVP award, multiple Pro Bowls, and historic numbers for dual threat quarterback. He’s credited with helping Newton develop into a top shelf passer and one of the best players in the NFL today.

Dorsey is now considered one of the hot up-and-coming coaches in the league, and interviewed for the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator position the past off-season.

U Family

Ken Dorsey was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame at its 45th Annual Induction Banquet on Thursday, April 11, 2013.

He continues to rep The U as he builds a great legacy on the NFL sidelines that looks to continue for many years.

Ken Dorsey - the G.O.A.T of QB U, pushing past a disappointing NFL playing career to reinvent himself as a top NFL coach - living life Beyond The U.

NFL Nostalgia: Ranking the Best Athletes in NFL History



By Mike Tanier

June 30, 2017

We are here to celebrate athleticism in all of its forms: speed, strength, agility, precision, leaping, throwing, kicking, lifting, grappling, punching, dribbling and driving.

Versatility is the name of the game for this NFL countdown. These players didn't just run a fast 40-yard dash at the scouting combine or score a bunch of touchdowns. They excelled not just in football, but in other athletic endeavors as well.

To make the countdown, an individual had to be a great pro football player—no moonlighting Renaldo Nehemiah-type track superstars allowed. Being a multifaceted football player who could fill multiple roles or positions certainly helped. But nearly every player on this list also demonstrated greatness at some other sport, whether in the NCAA basketball tournament, the Olympics or on a pitch in Australia.

The football players on this countdown ran with Carl Lewis, homered off Nolan Ryan and fought everyone from Muhammad Ali to Andre the Giant. There are hurdlers, weightlifters and bobsledders. These athletes have been to the Olympics and the World Series. They've forced other sports to change their rules to stop them, and some even had towns named after them.

It takes a great athlete to star in the NFL. But it takes a truly special athlete to make this countdown.

24. Stephen Neal: Guard, Wrestling Champion




Stephen Neal pinned future Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams in a high school meet in San Diego. He also pinned future WWE champion Brock Lesnar to win an NCAA championship for Cal State Bakersfield.

Neal lettered in football, wrestling, track, swimming and tennis in high school. He chose to focus on wrestling in college, as Cal State Bakersfield didn't even have a football program.

As a wrestler, Neal compiled a 156-10 record for the Roadrunners, winning two NCAA titles and various championships and awards. The photo above was taken after he won the 1999 Wrestling World Championships in Turkey. Neal later just missed the cut for the 2000 Olympic team.

He then retired from wrestling and began trying out for NFL teams. Though Neal possessed zero college football experience, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick liked what he saw. Neal went to camp with the Patriots in 2001, and after a brief detour with the Eagles, he stuck with the Patriots practice squad. He emerged as the starting guard for the 2004 Super Bowl team and started half the season for the 16-0 2007 team.

Neal would rank much higher on this list, but shoulder injuries hampered him throughout his football career. After all, Neal is one of the greatest wrestlers in NCAA history, and he's the only person on Earth who can say he won a Super Bowl and pinned both a WWE champion (in a real match) and a Heisman Trophy winner.

NFL Nostalgia: Ranking the Best Athletes in NFL History



By Mike Tanier

June 30, 2017

We are here to celebrate athleticism in all of its forms: speed, strength, agility, precision, leaping, throwing, kicking, lifting, grappling, punching, dribbling and driving.

Versatility is the name of the game for this NFL countdown. These players didn't just run a fast 40-yard dash at the scouting combine or score a bunch of touchdowns. They excelled not just in football, but in other athletic endeavors as well.

To make the countdown, an individual had to be a great pro football player—no moonlighting Renaldo Nehemiah-type track superstars allowed. Being a multifaceted football player who could fill multiple roles or positions certainly helped. But nearly every player on this list also demonstrated greatness at some other sport, whether in the NCAA basketball tournament, the Olympics or on a pitch in Australia.

The football players on this countdown ran with Carl Lewis, homered off Nolan Ryan and fought everyone from Muhammad Ali to Andre the Giant. There are hurdlers, weightlifters and bobsledders. These athletes have been to the Olympics and the World Series. They've forced other sports to change their rules to stop them, and some even had towns named after them.

It takes a great athlete to star in the NFL. But it takes a truly special athlete to make this countdown.

22. Robert Smith: Running Back, Sprinter




Robert Smith's football career almost ended before it truly began in 1991.

Smith was UPI's No. 1 football recruit in the nation in 1990. He rushed for 2,322 yards and 31 touchdowns in his senior year of high school while winning the 100-meter dash and finishing second in the 200- and 400-meter events in the Ohio high school state track and field championship. Smith chose to attend Ohio State, which is where the trouble began.

After Smith enjoyed a stellar freshman season, his commitment to academics—he was pursuing a pre-med degree—rankled some of his coaches. Smith later said he felt like he was "bullied" out of the program. He switched over to track and field and spent a year away from the Buckeyes football program.

Fortunately for Ohio State and the NFL, Smith patched things up with the program, opening the door for him to return to football. The Vikings selected Smith with the 21st overall pick in the 1993 draft, and after a few injury-marred early seasons, he exploded for four straight 1,000-plus-yard campaigns, joining Randy Moss and Cris Carter to fuel Dennis Green's unstoppable Vikings offense of the late 1990s.

Smith was one of the NFL's fastest players in his prime. He was also one of the league's smartest and most disciplined players. Athleticism without brains or discipline can make someone a playground hero. But athleticism with those virtues—plus the courage to stand up to those who want you to compromise—leads to countdowns like this one.

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